Imagine if a political organisation took antisemitic conspiracy theories to heart to such a degree that they began to act upon them as if they were fact.
One of the more foul lies about the Holocaust is that it was a joint venture between Zionist Jews and the Nazis. The aim of the Holocaust, some on the extreme Right and Left argue, was to generate so much sympathy for the Jews that the world would support Zionism.
Now imagine that a political movement believed this “truth” so earnestly, and deemed their own political and religious ambitions to be so important, that they decided to emulate the tactic that they supposed their enemies had themselves employed.
Outside of a Bond villain, could a country’s leadership dream up such a mind-bogglingly evil scheme. Could many citizens of a country fall in behind it? It’s hard to imagine. But if wicked plots never happened, it would be hard to believe the crimes of the Third Reich in Germany, of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, of the genocidaires of Rwanda. But nonetheless, horrors did take place in these three countries.
We struggle to believe that humans are capable of extreme wickedness. Indeed, we reject so vehemently the idea that a political movement could be so committed to wanton destruction, that even when the suicide bombers in London explained in detail, and with reference to scripture, the theological basis for the massacre that they executed, commentators rushed to superimpose their own, more rational reasons for the actions of the terrorists.
In the same way, we seemingly ignore the video confessions of Hamas’s tactics: because our western liberal democratic brain can’t assimilate the information.
Can you imagine political leaders, and a religious culture, so sick and twisted that parents groom their children to be suicide bombers? Where cartoon characters on kindergarten TV set an example to those children by becoming martyrs? We see the evidence: but how many of us believe it?
By now, many civilians have died in Gaza. That is horrific. Who can fail to be moved by images of death, injury and grief. It is heartbreaking and stomach churning. But while much of the international media seems keen to imply that these civilians have been deliberately targeted by Israel, there seems to a be great reluctance to consider the manner in which they have been made targets, intentionally, by Hamas.
The evidence for this is incontrovertible.
Of course, you could be forgiven for thinking this is as far-fetched as the spurious Zionism = Nazi comparison. But it isn’t. Hamas are not shy about admitting that this is their strategy. Here we have a senior Hamas MP talking quite openly about their methods.
And here we have another Hamas figure explaining how, when he got a phone call from the Israeli military warning him to get out of his house, he instead moved his family onto the roof, and invited his friends and neighbours to bring their wives and children into the house as human shields.
Both acts are extraordinary. It is extraordinary to phone your enemy and warn them to clear civilians from a target. And it is extraordinary not only to ignore the warning but to do the reverse and crowd the area with women and children.
Similarly, Hamas know the huge emotional impact when people see the targeting of schools and mosques. They know the average television news viewer in western liberal democracies will instinctively block out any suggestion that these are used for military purposes. But once again, here is the video evidence that Hamas use mosques as armouries and booby-trap schools.
Is Hamas so sold on the effectiveness of the Gaza = Holocaust propaganda – and the belief that the state of Israel was established as a result of a Zionist-authored Holocaust - that they have actively been trying to engineer the mass slaughter of their own civilian population? Do they believe that this is how they will win?
We have to begin accepting that when they say “as you love life, we love death”, they really, really, mean it.